Nancy Hill is a writer and photographer living in Portland, Oregon. Her day job, managing the publications and communications dept. in a state agency, feeds the bill collectors. Writing fiction and screenplays feeds the soul. Taking pictures helps lighten the therapy bills. She also does ghostwriting and writes feature articles for various publications.
She has two grown sons, a dog, and a garden of weeds that those obsessed with perfect lawns only wish they had the liberty to embrace.
What inspires you to write?
The need to escape.
Tell us about your writing process.
After a story pops into my head, I live with it for a while – sometimes for a long while, especially if I’m working on something else. I kick around possibilities, see where it might go.
The characters usually become clear before the entire story unfolds. When I think I know where it’s going, I begin writing. I get up every morning at 5:30 and write for at least an hour before I go to work. I set a goal to write three pages a day. If I need a piece of information to proceed, I’m tempted to stop and do some research, but I’m trying to break myself of that habit (it slows things down and I think it’s actually procrastination) by making a note to fill in the missing detail later. Then in the evening after work and walking the dog, I search for the details I needed. I fill them in. I repeat this until I have a first draft.
Then I reread the first draft, hate it, wonder how I could possibly have been deluded enough to think I could write. This usually makes me cry. I swear I’ll give up and never write again. I wallow in misery.
And then to pull myself out of the funk all this crying has done, I reread the draft, figure out what I hate about it, and begin draft 2, convinced that I am now much wiser and can make it work.
Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t.
But I keep writing. I don’t know how to stop.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I watch my characters. I pay attention to them. I get annoyed when they hide things, especially crucial things that mean I have to rewrite entire scenes or chapters when they finally reveal their secrets to me. Very rude behavior. Yet I always forgive them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Follow your heart, but know it will lead you astray. Trust your intuition, but know it’s fallible. Listen to your peers, but know their advice is not always sage. Never, ever get caught in the trap of comparing your writing or success to other writers, but know that’s inevitable.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After years of getting fiction rejected (I did much better with non-fiction), I decided to self-publish. Unfortunately, my marketing skills are sorely lacking. This is a huge problem with self-publishing.
Marketing is also very time consuming and tedious. I would far rather write new stuff than try to market what I’ve already written.
So self-publishing is probably not the best option for me – although so far, it’s been the only one. Dumb publishers, anyway.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it’s wide open. Publishing houses have to be getting mighty nervous now that writers have other avenues and do not have to come begging at their doors.
On the other hand, with all the self-published books, some of them very, very poorly written, it is as difficult for a good writer to make it in the indie world as it is to find a traditional publisher.
I’m not sure how this will all be resolved. I like the ability to read fine books that weren’t right for traditional publishing houses, but I am disheartened by all the poorly written books readers have to sift through to try to find the golden ring in the seemingly endless miles of sand.
I would like to see more publishing houses take on more books so more good writers had the opportunity to get published in a traditional way. But the more self-publishing takes off, the less likely that will be.
What do you use?
Ghostwriter, Co-writer, Professional Editor
What genres do you write?
Coming of age; children’s books; short story collections.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print